Reed Gaynor

Pura Vida

Mentor: Ljiljana Coklin

A nation created by immigrants, the United States serves as a beacon of hope for those looking for a new beginning, a new home. While it offers a promising future, the immigrant experience often means a radical break with the past, a personal sacrifice, or a dangerous journey that risks everything just for the chance at a better life. Inspired by true events, Pura Vida follows 18-year-old Carlos on his journey from Costa Rica to the United States. Driven by the need to further his education in pursuit of a brighter future, Carlos embarks on a trip to the unknown with a pair of dress shoes, the clothes on his back, and the 200 dollars sewn into his jacket, just enough to get him into the United States. On his 3000-mile-long bus ride, Carlos experiences the looming presence of the narco mafia, a life-changing border crossing, a brush with an evil coyote, and an encounter with his guardian angel. Carlos’ morality will also be put to a test as he must decide whether to help others reach their dreams or accomplish his own. This novella offers a dramatic retelling of Carlos’ story as it looks into what drives immigrants to risk everything for the chance at a better life.

See a Draft of Reed’s Novella Pura Vida